Tour Cape Town’s Beaches by Train on Your South Africa Holiday

When enjoying a holiday in Cape Town you might like to experience an economical and unique tour of the southern peninsula of Cape Town and the coastal suburbs of False Bay, by train. The suburban rail service that serves the suburbs along the line from Cape Town to Simonstown an inexpensive and relaxing way to travel and see so many of the coastal attractions from a unique perspective – the seat of a railway carriage. Although it is an interesting trip for adults, children wi; delight in such a journey from the surfers paradise suburb of Muizenberg to Simonstown.

Board the train at Muizenberg, where you will be sure to admire the historic Colonial red brick and stone faced station building with a teak clock tower, built around 1913. It houses a couple of antique shops and a popular restaurant overlooking the ocean. The train journey offers a unique viewing opportunity, as you travel along the spectacular False Bay Coast and the train snakes along the shore, passing beautiful white beaches and tidal pools; at times skirting the sea with just a wall of rocks between the rail and the ocean. You should open the carriage window and inhale the fresh sea air, as you marvel at the spectacular view that you will have across the whole of False Bay. At St James you will see the colourful bathing boxes on the beach, famous subject of many holiday postcards, and watch the bathers at play in the tidal pool. Along the rail trip you will see surfers riding the waves, speeding towards the rocks, and people in kayaks paddling across the bay. Further down the line is enchanting Kalk bay, a working fishing harbour suburb, and popular destination with both locals and tourists because of the main road with enticing galleries, restaurants, antique shops and other delights for browsers and collectors. You are bound to delight in the colourful fishing boats bobbing at their moorings in the harbour, and perhaps succumb to the temptation to alight for a morning of shopping and picture taking.

As the train rounds the corner towards Fish Hoek, it runs right along the sea and affords a marvellous opportunity to watch the whales basking and at play. You may be lucky enough to spot one just a few metres from the the train line. Clovelly station will be your next marker; the only station in the world with a sign prohibiting fishing from the platform. The train will continue along Fish Hoek beach where you might spot fishermen pulling their catches in. The journey continues, hugging the shore of Simon’s bay, with even better opportunities for whale watching, as the bay abounds with these magnificent creatures between June and October each year. Simonstown is home to the South African Navy and it is not unusual to see one or more of the warships or submarines manoeuvring in the bay. At the journey’s end in Simonstown one will find another historic station building, and there is plenty to see and do in this popular naval town. A walk to the centre of the town will take you through the interesting historic mile and an eclectic selection of historic buildings. Be sure to take a cab to visit the famous African penguin colony at Boulders Beach, which was recently rated by a UK magazine as the best family beach in the world.

Whilst one can purchase train tickets at Muizenberg station, Cape Town’s Metrorail Southern Line Tourism Route offers a hop-on hop-off ticket from Cape Town through the suburbs of Observatory, Newlands, Muizenberg, Kalk Bay and Fish Hoek Stations for just ZAR30 per one day ticket or ZAR 50 for a 2-day ticket- (US$ 4-6 respectively). If you purchase the hop-on-hop off rail ticket you will also receive a map showing all the attractions of each of the suburbs within a 2 km walking distance.

A further innovative partnership project was launched at on 27 May 2010; between Cape Town Tourism, Metrorail Western Cape and The Green Cab, known as the Rail and Ride initiative, It offers a scenic travel opportunity by rail and eco-friendly cab from Cape Town to Simonstown, commencing in the first week of June 2010, in time for the 2010 World Cup. The route will include a Southern Line train ride from Cape Town to Fish Hoek, followed by a “Green Cab” taxi ride along the scenic coastline to spectacular Cape Point, and a return to Simonstown. The tour can be pre-booked and visitors travelling on the Southern Line Tourism Route will travel in a designated carriage accompanied by informed tourist guides and dedicated security guards. Green Cabs are available at Simonstown station to take one on a guided tour through Simonstown by way of the famous African penguin colony at Boulders beach to the spectacular Cape point nature reserve. The cost of ZAR 600 (US$80) includes transport, tour guide, security as well as entrance to Boulders Beach Penguin Colony and Cape Point Nature reserve, making it excellent value for money. The Rail and Ride service will be offered on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, departing from Platform Five at Cape Town Station.

For more information about the Rail and Ride tours contact Metrorail: railtourism@metrorail.co.za or the Green Cab +27 (0)86 184 3473 or call Cape Town Tourism on +27 (0)21 487 6800.